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Teixeira's HR helps Yankees power past Royals

NEW YORK -- Right-hander Adam Warren threw 6 1/3 strong innings, while Mark Teixeira drove in four runs with a double and a homer as the Yankees rolled to a 5-1 win over the Royals on Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium.

Combined with the Rays' 7-6 loss to the Mariners, the win moved the Yankees back into first place by a half-game over Tampa Bay in the American League East standings.

The Royals dropped their third straight, the first time they have lost three straight games in nearly eight months. Kansas City dropped four straight over the final four days in August.

"I was hoping it would go a little longer [without losing three straight]," manager Ned Yost said. "We're going to have to find a way to come out and win a game tomorrow."

Warren gave up just two hits, walked none and struck out five. He retired the first 10 hitters he faced until Mike Moustakas beat out a hit into short right field against the shift.

"We swung at a lot of balls out of the zone, a lot of sliders away," Yost said.

Alex Rodriguez reached base three times for the Yankees and scored twice.

Left-hander Jason Vargas, just activated from the disabled list, pitched four innings for the Royals and gave up four hits and two runs while striking out six. More >

Video: KC@NYY: Betances strikes out the side in the 8th

Dellin Betances struck out the side for the Yankees in the eighth inning. Betances has pitched 9 2/3 innings without allowing a hit over his last eight appearances, to go with 12 strikeouts. He hasn't allowed an earned run in 25 innings this season.

Warren makes his case: With Masahiro Tanaka due back soon, the Yankees will need to free a spot in the starting rotation. With three straight strong starts, Warren has made a strong case that he shouldn't be the one moved out. Tuesday's game was his best yet, but Warren has allowed just seven runs on 13 hits in his last 19 2/3 innings. More >

Video: KC@NYY: Warren limits Royals to one run over 6 1/3

"He's pitching as well as anyone in our rotation right now," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

Kings of the first: The Yankees score more first-inning runs than any other club, and Teixeira's two-run homer off Vargas made it 10 first-inning runs in two games this series against the Royals. Teixeira's 14 home runs rank second in the American League behind Seattle's Nelson Cruz, and three of them have come in the first inning. Overall, the Yankees have 50 first-inning runs in 46 games. More >

Video: KC@NYY: Teixeira doubles home two runs in the 5th

"If I stay healthy, I'm going to produce," Teixeira said.

Said Vargas of the homer hit by Teixeira, "The pitch to him was definitely a mistake. I was trying to go down and away and it caught the middle."

First MLB homer: Royals rookie outfielder Paulo Orlando drove his first big league homer into the right-field seats in the sixth inning off Warren. Orlando, just the third Brazilian-born player to play in the big leagues, brought the Royals to within 5-1 with the opposite-field homer. More >

"The guys were real excited for him," Yost said. "It's always cool to see his teammates get real excited for him."

Video: KC@NYY: Orlando belts first big league home run

Carlos Beltran had missed the last two games with flu-like symptoms, but he returned to face Vargas, who he had three hits against in seven career at-bats. Beltran's fourth-inning single left him 4-for-9 against Vargas, and with a 14-game hitting streak overall.

Video: KC@NYY: Beltran extends hitting streak to 14

Royals: Chris Young, who has been sensational as a spot starter, will make start No. 5 -- he's 4-0 with a 0.78 ERA -- in Wednesday's series finale with the Yankees at 12:05 p.m. CT. Young is holding hitters to a .142 average, tops among pitchers with at least 30 innings.

Yankees: Michael Pineda, who was hit hard by the Royals in a 12-1 loss on May 15, gets another chance in the series finale at 1:05 p.m. ET. Pineda has allowed 12 runs (nine earned) in 11 1/3 innings over two starts since his 16-strikeout game against the Orioles.

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. Danny Knobler is a contributor to
Read More: Dellin Betances, Paulo Orlando, Jason Vargas, Lorenzo Cain, Mark Teixeira, Adam Warren